Austrostipa wakoolica  |  

Austrostipa wakoolica

Status: Endangered on the EPBC Act list

Austrostipa wakoolica is a densely-tufted, perennial spear-grass that grows to 1 m tall. The leaves are flattened or rolled, 1.5 – 2.5 mm wide at their bases, slightly to strongly ribbed, and densely hairy. The flower-heads are spreading and moderately dense, to 36 cm long, comprising gaping spikelets 11 – 15 mm long (excluding the awn). The awn (bristle) is twicebent and 3.5 – 6 cm long. Austrostipa wakoolica flowers in response to rain. The species has been recorded flowering from October to December. Austrostipa wakoolica probably does not tolerate disturbance, requiring sites protected from the impacts of herbivore grazing and rabbits. The species probably requires periodic flooding of its habitat to maintain wet conditions. It is not known whether fire plays a role in the ecology of this species. Most species of Austrostipa provide an abundance of highly flammable ephemeral fuel in periods following above-average rainfall. Seed dispersal is mainly by wind, rain and flood events; the awn and sharp point of the floret appear to be an adaptation for burying the seed into the soil; grass seed is traditionally believed to be viable for three to five years, so a long-lived seed bank is considered unlikely for this species.

Government evidence of impact of climate change:

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  • Australian Government, Conservation Advice, Austrostipa wakoolica

    Threats Identified threats to Austrostipa wakoolica include (NSW DECCW; 2005) Habitat reduction and modification from pastoral development; irrigation and altered flooding regimes Grazing total grazing pressure has increased with higher numbers of rabbits; domestic stock and kangaroos the species is probably palatable to sheep and rabbits Drought as the species is rainfall dependant; the flowering season is affected by drought or prolonged dry periods Weed invasion and competition; particularly from exotic grasses Priority Actions Fence sites where feasible or discourage access of herbivores Survey for new populations Weed control in habitat areas Annual monitoring of fenced areas to determine the influence of different grazing animals Conduct weed control at 5 selected sites and monitor benefit Prevent further loss of extant populations Monitor mining proposals in the vicinity and ameliorate potential damage Collect seed for NSW Seedbank.